It's here. The node you've all been waiting for... It's the bagpipe metanode!!

Parts of a bagpipe

Ceol Beag
Ceol Mor
Parlour Goose
Piob Mhor
Practice Chanter

Yes, I have 2 wu's in this node. Yes I can edit both of them. No, please don't fix it. It's kinda cool.
Irish or uillean pipes are softer and (to my ears) more nasal than the Scottish (a.k.a. highland?) variety. It's not such a militaristic instrument. In bagpipe, slugo speaks of "a majestic instrument that stirs the soul"; for differing values of "majestic", this is accurate for both kinds.

Bagpipes have been played in the Near East since time out of mind. Since the Tuatha de Danann are said by notoriously unreliable sources (e.g. Seumas MacManus and my grandfather) to have come from Macedonia, it all makes sense.

achan: You're right about the mood thing. I cut that part. I should've just said that all my favorite instances of uillean pipe playing are mournful ones, e.g. the Bothy Band doing "The Blackbird".

The main thing is that I'm not adequately well-informed on the subject of Irish music and I shot my mouth off without checking my facts.
The Uillean pipes do indeed have drones, 3 like the Piob Mhor. Irish pipes are a parlour instrument. The differ from the highland pipes in a number of ways
  • Uillean pipes are bellows blown
  • Uillean pipes are quieter
  • Uillean pipes have keys whereas a Piob Mhor(great pipe) chanter is open holed
  • Uillean pipes are more complicated and take longer to learn to play... it is said 7 years learning and 7 more years to master...
  • Uillean pipes have 3 regulators, which are like primitive oboes

I would not go as far as to say that the Uillean pipes are a mournful instrument. The Scottish bagpipe is an instrument of war, merrymaking, and mourning... a lot of piobaireachd is slow lamentatious music. It is my experience that most Uillean pipe tunes are rather cheery... one need only listen to a few Chieftains tunes to see for oneself.

An ancient wind instrument, consisting of at least one leather bag to hold air, two or three pipes to provide the drone, and a short pipe with finger holes named the chanter on which the tune is played.

Throughout most of its history, the bagpipe has been as peasant instrument and commonly associated with people of low status such as farmers, shepherds, and gypsies. As it was seldom used in sophisticated company, not much was ever written or recorded about the bagpipe's early history.
The earliest diagrams of the bagpipe mechanism only date back to 1619 when Preatorius assembled his well-known illustrated work on organography.
Contrary to popular belief, the bagpipe did not originate in Scotland. Its historical origins can be dated back to 1,000 B.C. in Babylon, modern day Iraq. Some Roman armies also used what resembeled a bagpipe as a morale booster in ancient Syria. However, it did evolve and became what it is today in Scotland.

The "Oxford History of Music" makes mention of the first documented bagpipe being found on a Hittite slab at Eyuk. This sculptured bagpipe has been dated to 1,000 B.C. Biblical mention is made of the bagpipe in Genesis and in the third Chapter of Daniel where the "symphonia" in Nebuchadnezzar's band is believed to have contained a bagpipe.

The bagpipe was, in early Europe, the most popular musical instrument, as we can see from several Dutch paintings from various centuries. However, by the 16th century, it survived only in the far eastern and western edges of the continent.

The bagpipes were popular throughout Scotland, at the time one of very few links between the Highlands and the Lowlands. Most towns and villages had in them a piper, who would play at weddings, funerals, dances etc. On his death-bed, Rob Roy MacGregor is said to have listened to a lament called I Will Return No More.

The MacCrimmons, of Skye, were among the most famous of the piping families, with people coming from all across Scotland to learn from them.

In the 18th century, bagpipe music began to be published, kindling a new interest from among the middle and upper classes.

After the 1745 Jacobite up-rising, the bagpipes were banned by the English, in an attempt to remove Gaelic influences in Scotland, as were kilts and the carrying of weapons by Scots.

Bagpipes made a come-back in the form of military music, with the forming of Scottish regiments, and the pipes and drums are now commonly associated with the army. During the Indian Mutiny, bagpipes were played to herald relief of Lucknow to the besieged British citizens. In the First World War, each new battalion raised in Scotland had its own pipe-band.

The Scottish Pipe Band Association, formed in 1930, currently promotes and regulates standards.

Having listened to bagpipers of varying skill levels, I've found that they tend to come in two groups: soul-stirringly beautiful and deafeningly bad.

I have heard bagpipers at tattoos and competitions that would send chills down your spine and make a grown man weep. In a good way. They are truly magical instruments.

On the other hand, I have heard beginner pipers that would also send chills down your spine and make a grown man weep. And run screaming from the room. And pray to be stricken deaf.

I have never heard a mediocre bagpiper. Maybe that's because I've only seen heard them at tattoos, competitions, and beginner classes.

Bag"pipe (?), n.

A musical wind instrument, now used chiefly in the Highlands of Scotland.

⇒ It consists of a leather bag, which receives the air by a tube that is stopped by a valve; and three sounding pipes, into which the air is pressed by the performer. Two of these pipes produce fixed tones, namely, the bass, or key tone, and its fifth, and form together what is called the drone; the third, or chanter, gives the melody.


© Webster 1913.

Bag"pipe, v. t.

To make to look like a bagpipe.

To bagpipe the mizzen Naut., to lay it aback by bringing the sheet to the mizzen rigging.



© Webster 1913.

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